Volunteer Centre Manchester provides information, support and training to Manchester residents who want to volunteer.
Meet Krys from TLC St Luke's!
Full transcript below:
Hello I’m Krys, I come to St Luke’s once a month and I give advice on a variety of things, principally, benefits, occasionally tax credits, help people with utilities, accommodation, debt and finance situations
1. How and why did you get into volunteering?
I got into volunteering about 8 years ago when I was actually approached by a previous employer of mine, who wanted me to have a look at migrant life in Bolton and I started talking to people from Eastern Europe and they started asking me questions about all sorts of things and before I knew it I was beginning to help them and give them advice.
2. What volunteering projects are you involved with at the moment?
I have got two specific projects, there’s the St Luke’s project which we have been doing since July 2013. There’s also another one, I am resident of a housing association in Bolton that’s quite active in the community in Bolton so I do some volunteering work for them as well.
3. What do you like most about volunteering?
The variety, I love the variety, meeting people, you never quite know what you’re going to get, so it does stretch but it stretches you in a nice positive kind of way, and it tells you as much about yourself as it does about the people that you’re dealing with.
4. What have been your best memories of volunteering?
I’ve got one or two specific memories, I think generally its, if you get a positive result, but particularly if you get a positive result when you’re not expecting it. Somebody may come to you and their situation is pretty desperate and with your experience, you look at the case and you think we’ll do really well to get a result and then when you do get the result that obviously gives them satisfaction, it also gives you some extra satisfaction as well.
5. Has volunteering helped you, or had a positive impact on your personal life?
Volunteering has definitely helped me, again, I mean I work 3 days a week and I know that from next year I’ll be properly retired I’ll be officially an old person, so I’m doing the volunteering now because this will be very very important for me when I finally stop doing work and I may do some more volunteering but I’m already into the routine of doing volunteering and that’s very very important.
6. Where do you think you would be now without volunteering in your life?
Well I think there’d be something missing there’d be a, it’s the opportunity, its sound a bit of an old cliché this but your giving back something that maybe you’ve got yourself over the years, I’ve worked in public service all my life so I do know quite a lot about public service activity and the way the system works and whatever. It can be confusing for people that aren’t aware of it so If I can help people to get through that particular labyrinth then that’s very very useful indeed.
7. What skills have you taken away/ developed through Volunteering?
There’s been a number of interpersonal skills, some of the work we do is quite challenging simply because of the life situations, the people who come to us for advice, they have very difficult life situations so you’re not only just giving advice, formal advice, you’re actually trying to empathise with their situation and that requires a certain level of as I say interpersonal skills, communication skills, which I feel that are still developing within me, you’re never too old to learn some new skills and the other thing is new knowledge areas, I’ve challenged myself a bit , gone into new knowledge areas and that’s been very rewarding as well.
8. What advice would you give to people that want to volunteer ?
If you feel that you want to do it, then do it. There’s lots and lots of organisations out there that are looking for committed people, people who want to give something of themselves. I’d say you need to have a lot of stamina, you need to have staying power, it’s a long term commitment. The kind of things we do here at St Luke’s we’ve been doing for 3 years and there people who are still coming to us that came 3 years ago because their situations are ongoing and they don’t necessarily sort out a situation once and for all, it can come back. The other thing I would say is, challenge yourself, be prepared to challenge yourself but also do things where maybe you’ve already got some knowledge and experience, maybe from a previous incarnation.